Fnatic’s Roller Coaster Season Raises Questions About LCS Spring Split Relevance

Fnatic's whirlwind Spring Split shows some flaws in the LCS format.

Fnatic’s beloved League of Legends team has had, in simple terms, a whirlwind of a season. They started off just where they left off after their performance at the end of the 2013 EU LCS Summer Split, racing to a 7-0 record to go along with sole possession of first place. It’d be the understatement of the year to claim that they stumbled afterwards. Instead, in stunning fashion, they fell flat on their face and couldn’t seem to get up. What many easily and rightfully regarded as the best team in Europe, even ahead of Gambit, seemed to have lost their mojo.

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After a disappointing (though, 2-2 seems like a solid week after the past month or so of LCS play) superweek, Fnatic headed off to Katowice to compete for the IEM global championship, surrounded by a swirl of questions and speculation. No one expected Fnatic to perform very well or even come close to making it to Day 3 of the tournament. In typical Fnatic fashion, however, they turned a switch, and powered through several games, even taking down North America’s Cloud 9 in the process, a team who looked primed to take down the KT Rolster Bullets and finally earn a smidgen of respect for the North American League scene (not to mention $150,000, certainly another reason to go all in for this tournament).

Fnatic’s strange season certainly raises questions about the LCS format, though. Take a team like North America’s XDG, a team struggling to come close to their past form. On the brink of relegation, turmoil, doubt, and questions surround the team constantly. Fnatic, for the most part, never even had the thought of relegation cross their minds.

In other words, there are two results for the LCS Spring Split: Advance to the Summer Split and push for the World Championships, or be relegated.

No one can argue about the skill level of Fnatic as a whole and their success they’ve all experienced together over the years. With that in mind, what’s in it for them to try? Why should they stress and go absolutely all out if there is no consequence for not doing so, and little reward for their efforts. While XDG is exhausting every possible option, every ounce of energy they can get out of their players to continue their stay in the NA LCS, Fnatic is basically enjoying their time in the league until making their World’s push during the Summer Split, proving they have what it takes to quickly turn the switch on over this weekend of IEM Championship play.

It’s hard to make a case that the Spring Split of LCS play is even close to being as relevant or important as the Summer half.



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Vesthis is a 19-year old sophomore college student in Philadelphia, PA, an avid League of Legends player, and a Diamond mid lane main player.